A soy food trade team from Southeast Asia traveled through North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska for the SEA Trade Mission to USA 2017 from August 8 – 19. The highlight of this trip was USSEC’s 2017 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange, co‐located with the Midwest Shippers Association Midwest Specialty Grains Conference & Trade Show on August 16 and 17 in Omaha.
The SEA soy food team consisted of representatives from the soybean trader and soy food processor companies from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Several activities were organized during the trip to the U.S., such as visits to the Northern Crops Institute (NCI), farms, and soybean processing facilities.
The first day’s program included a visit to Healthy Foods Inc., the North Dakota Soybean Association, and NCI. At NCI, the team listened to a presentation, "The Importance of Soy Material for Making Soy Foods & Ingredients," by Dr. Zach Liu, followed by a visit to the NCI labs and a hands-on demonstration on tofu and soymilk production.
Over the next three days, mission participants met with U.S. producers and suppliers, and took crop and facility tours in Minnesota and Wisconsin, incuding: Brushvale Seeds, Richland IFC, SB & B, Perlick Farms, Besker Farms, Keith Schrader Farms, Grain Millers, and Sun Opta. The participants learned a lot of information about how U.S. soybeans are farmed, grown, stored, and processed to be ready for utilization in food processing. The team saw the advance technology that used to grow and process the grain and beans. Many representatives were interested and amazed with the technology applied on farm and off farm.
From August 14 – 18, the SEA soy food team participated in the 2017 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Omaha, Nebraska. USSEC’s biggest event of the year is aimed at bringing together international trade teams and U.S. Soy industry representatives for key discussions and personal networking. The SEA soy food team had a great opportunity to meet with suppliers at the Trade Team Invitational on August 15. The U.S. Soy exporters shared the latest information about farming, processing, quality, and price of the U.S. Soy that they produce.
The 2017 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange offered general and breakout sessions that were tailored to the interests of all participants. Over the course of two days, trade teams, exhibitors, grower leaders, and other guests heard from experts in the areas of economics, leadership, sustainability, food, feed, and transportation. Roundtable meetings with U.S. soybean suppliers were arranged. The meetings provided opportunities for team member from SEA to meet and have direct interaction with U.S. soybean suppliers to probe business opportunities.
This trade mission provided participants with real experience on how U.S. soybean farmers produce and prepare quality U.S. soybeans. The event also provided an opportunity for soybean customers from SEA to meet one-on-one with U.S. soybean exporters. Attending the 2017 US Soy Global Trade Exchange provided participants with updated information and knowledge on the current global market situation and challenges and opportunities, as well providing an opportunity to network. The exhibitions in between the conference were also beneficial for the team members to gather information and to interact with the exhibitors from the soy and grain industries.
Overall feedback from the participants’ evaluations was very positive. They found the program to be beneficial for their business and add value to their trading activities. The SEA Trade Mission to the U.S. is a good channel to provide opportunity for U.S. exporters to meet in person with the importers’ companies from SEA. Overall, the trade mission was beneficial for both parties.